miércoles, marzo 16, 2005

ARROZ, TELÉFONOS MÓVILES y cintas de vídeo: la electrónica está teniendo un papel crucial para eludir el férreo aislamiento de los norcoreanos
The construction of cellular relay stations last fall along the Chinese side of the border has allowed some North Koreans in border towns to use prepaid Chinese cellphones to call relatives and reporters in South Korea, defectors from North Korea say. And after DVD players swept northern China two years ago, entrepreneurs collected castoff videocassette recorders and peddled them in North Korea. Now tapes of South Korean soap operas are so popular that state television in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, is campaigning against South Korean hairstyles, clothing and slang, visitors and defectors have said.

"In the 1960's in the Soviet Union, it was cool to wear blue jeans and listen to rock and roll," said Andrei Lankov, a Russian exchange student in the North at Kim Il Sung University in 1985, who now teaches about North Korea at Kookmin University here in the South. "Today, it is cool for North Koreans to look and behave South Korean, as they do in the television serials. That does not bode well for the long-term survival of the regime."

[...] In the recording studio of a radio station here, Seong Min Kim, a former North Korean Army captain who is now the director for the South Korean radio station Free NK, explained how Chinese cellphones in North Korea have enabled him to nurture sources there.

"He just dials 0082 to get the Korean-speaking Chinese operator, then makes a collect call to here," Mr. Kim said of one source. The prepaid cellphones are usually paid for by journalists in South Korea, he said, and the North Koreans go along largely out of curiosity or to try to make business deals. He added: "They are getting more and more tech savvy. Now they are asking for cellphones with cameras attached."

[...] While Chinese cellphones only work a few miles inside North Korea, the videocassette phenomenon has reportedly spread throughout the nation, reaching into every area where there is electricity.

"They are within the reach of the average family," said Dr. Lankov, who regularly interviews recent defectors. "They watch, almost exclusively, smuggled and copied South Korean movies and drama. Only a few weeks after airing here, they will go throughout North Korea."

More than showing middle-class family lifestyles, which can be staged in a studio, the soap operas also provide images of a modern Seoul - the forest of high-rise buildings, the huge traffic jams, the late-model cars.
Un fascinante artículo del New York Times que no os podéis perder (via Tom Maguire), incluida la parte donde se detallan las estrategias de Kim Jong Il para evitarlo. Por desgracia para él, sus estrategias no están funcionando.